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Smith Rock: Dynamic Geology, Beautiful Place

Smith Rock: Dynamic Geology, Beautiful Place
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Smith Rock by Shari Maria Silverman is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.Smith Rock

Smith Rock

Smith Rock stands just east of Terrebonne, Oregon in Central Oregon. Now a popular destination for numerous reasons, and part of a larger volcanic and sedimentary complex surrounding Gray Butte to the northeast, Smith Rock consists of tuff that erupted approximately 14 million years ago (Bishop 2004:173).

The eruptions occurred during the Miocene epoch, when volcanic activity interrupted the landscape throughout Washington, Oregon and Idaho. The climate at that time was more subtropical to tropical. In John Day’s Clarno Unit to the east, palm, breadfruit, sycamore, cinnamon, magnolia, avocado, walnut, fern and horsetail, among other plants, have been found in between the basalt flows. Also within the lava beds were evidence of rhinoceroses, llamas, saber-toothed cats, large dogs, oreodonts (giant pig-like animals), rabbits and opposums (Garner 1996:117-118).

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Crooked River Meanders Around Smith Rock by Shari Maria Silverman is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.Crooked River Meanders around Smith Rock

Crooked River Meanders around Smith Rock

Less than 1/2 million years ago, volcanic activity further altered the landscape. Liquid basalt flowed from other volcanoes, pushing the Crooked River into its current position.

Nowadays, it is a lovely place to visit and camp (and inexpensive WITH showers). Climbers dot the entire rock. Hikers and runners enjoy its trails. Lovely flowers bloom. AND it boasts panaramic views featuring the central Oregon Cascades.

References:

Bishop, Ellen Morris

2004   Hiking Oregon’s Geology. The Mountaineers Books, Seattle, WA.

Garner, Paul

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Desert Flower near Base of Smith Rock by Shari Maria Silverman is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.Desert Flower near Base of Smith Rock

Desert Flower near Base of Smith Rock

1996   Continental Flood Basalts Indicate a Pre-Mesozoic Flood/Post-Flood Boundary. CEN Tech Journal 10(1):114-127. Electronic document, http://creation.com/images/pdfs/tj/j10_1/j10_1_114-127.pdf, accessed July 24, 2011.


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